An ongoing ‘hype’ in medical aesthetics is that somehow Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a new and innovative “regenerative” therapy. PRP is not regenerative. There is also nothing really new about PRP as it has been in use since 1987 named as such; and arguably, PRP has been in use since the mid-last century.

02 PRP MYTHSAlthough PRP has a handful of growth factors (GF) and cytokines in common with those released by adipose derived mesenchymal stem cells (AdMSC), that’s where the similarity ends.

PRP is made from a small (typically 5-10mL) draw of your whole blood on a centrifuge in-clinic. The ‘quality’ of PRP made depends on the protocol employed, the state of your own blood (that changes throughout the day); and, the level of that ‘reddish’ colour – the red blood cell (RBC) residue. Treated cells don’t like RBC content as it makes the cells walls burst – the opposite of ‘regenerative’.

Growth factors and cytokines play transient roles as therapeutics as they have half-lives that can be measured in seconds. Injected into the skin as an aesthetic treatment PRP factors will not disburse much further than the end of the needle.

However, PRP can have an anti-inflammatory effect. In the context of aesthetics such as a hair loss or a needling treatment such it may reduce swelling (down time). If you’re getting a beneficial effect from such therapy then its arguably more to do with the number of tiny holes being made in your scalp or skin; and what’s known as the ‘wound healing cascade’,  rather than the ‘regenerative’ PRP.

A reading of Cochrane (a British charity that reviews published medical science) concludes that PRP was of “little importance” to “no benefit” in chronic wound healing and muscoskeletal tissues cases studies.

PRP COMPAREDAs the diagram above illustrates, there’s a regenerative aspect to stromal vascular fraction (SVF) and a pure population of adipose derived mesenchymal stem cells (AdMSC) that is absent in PRP.

02 PRP USESPRP can be useful as an adjunctive treatment in the early stages of osteoarthritis (OA) for its potential anti-inflammatory effects. Lower inflammation levels should reduce pain and also allow for the joint to recover the best it can transiently. PRP is both simple and cheap to make. At a fair price there’s not too much to lose by electing for PRP therapy in the early stages of OA.

PRP can also be put to use in a laboratory that’s processing (e.g) autologous stem cells, as the factors present additionally supplement the media that the cells are maintained in.